Region celebrates best in tourism

THE Salthouse Habour Hotel on the Ipswich Waterfront was last night named as the East of England’s Large Hotel of the Year for 2010.

The four-star hotel, owned by the Gough family who also own the Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds, was one of three winners from Suffolk and north Essex at the regional Enjoy England Awards for Excellence, organised by East of England Tourism and held at the West Wing, Ickworth, near Bury.

Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre took the Tourism Event of the Year accolade, beating off competition from Endless Forms, an exhibition on Charles Darwin at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and King Harold Day at Waltham Abbey, Essex.

And the Radisson Blu Hotel at Stansted Airport won the Business Tourism award, ahead of Delia’s Canary Catering at Norwich City Football Club, run by TV cook Delia Smith, and Wyboston Lakes in Bedfordshire.

The 70-bedroom Salthouse hotel, created from a former warehouse on Neptune Quay, Ipswich, and recently extended, was up against the Marriot Sprowston Manor Hotel, near Norwich, and the Hotel Felix in Cambridge.

The Salthouse and Bury Christmas Fayre both qualified for the regional event by winning their respective categories in the Tourism in Suffolk Awards, organised by media company Archant Suffolk whose titles include the East Anglian Daily Times.

The company also organised the Tourism in Essex Awards, through which the Radisson Blu qualified for the regional round.

Most Read

Essex also had six runners-up last night, including the Maison Talbooth at Dedham (in the Small Hotel of the Year category), Waldegraves Holiday & Leisure Park, West Mersea (Caravan Park/Holiday Village of the Year), Pevors Farm Cottages, Southey Green, Sible Hedingham (Self-Catering Holiday of the Year), the Mercury Theatre, Colchester (Access For All), Suzanne Evans of Boon’s Calibre Travel, Hatfield Peveral (Outstanding Customer Service) and the VisitColchester Information Centre (Tourist Information Centre of the Year).

In Suffolk, Bury St Edmunds Tourist Information Centre was also a runner up in the TIC category, with other finalists from the county including Somerleyton Hall & Gardens (Small Visitor Attraction of the Year), the Anchor Inn, Nayland (Taste of England) and Go Ape!, based at Hargrave, near Bury, for its Thetford Forest hire wire adventure centre (Tourism Experience of the Year).

The biggest winner of the night was the Kelling Heath Holiday Park at Weybourne, near Sheringham, in Norfolk, which carried off three awards, for Caravan Park/Holiday Village of the Year, Sustainable Tourism and (for its Star Party stargazing events) Tourism Experience of the Year.

Norfolk also had five other winners: Titchwell Manor Hotel, Titchwell, near Brancaster (Small Hotel of the Year), Dairy Barns, Hickling (B&B/Guest Accommodation of the Year), East View Farm Holiday Cottages, Ashmanhaugh (Self-Catering Holiday of the Year), Wroxham Barns, Hoveton (Taste of England) and Norfolk Cottages, Gissing (Access For All).

Other winners included Shepreth Wildlife Park near Royston, Hertfordshire (Large Visitor Attraction of the Year), the Henry Moore Foundation at Perry Green, Hertfordshire (Small Visitor Attraction of the Year) and Ely TIC (Tourist Information Centre of the Year)

All of the winners now go forward to the national Enjoy England Awards, to be presented in April 2011.

Guest speaker at last night’s event was world championship-winning canoeist David Florence who trains in the region at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, a venue for the 2012 London Olympics.